Glenn Cooper's "Book of Souls" is a conspiracy-thriller about the United States data-mining an ancient library of books listing the names, births and death of everyone throughout time. Cooper's second installment tracks a long ago missing book from the library, etched with the date 1571 and how it influenced important figures of the past including Nostradamus and Shakespeare.
Cooper's protagonist Will Piper is former FBI, an alcoholic and somewhat reformed womanizer. His second wife is his former partner, Nancy Lipinski, and they have a newborn son, Phillip. Will reveals early on he is not the nurturing type, allowing a babysitter to watch his son while he tries to find ways to entertain himself. Members of the 2027 Club contact him, because the missing book from the library has appeared in England, at an auction from the Cantwell Estate. He declines to help at first, but becomes enthralled after the courier, who delivered the book to the club members, is found dead.
Cooper's writing is tight and well researched. The story elements of international conspiracy, all-knowing government agents, and a mystery spanning hundreds of years mixed well, but seem trite and often predictable. The mystery itself is solved too easily by Will and the Cantwell's linguistic young heiress. The sections involving Shakespeare, Nostradamus, The Cantwell family and the founding of the library are very well done. The story is Dan Brown-esque in content but the characters and settings are better developed.
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Reviewed by Timothy Remp.